During the New Generation Era of the WWF, it was tough if you weren’t part of the Kliq, your last name wasn’t Hart or you weren’t The Undertaker. A few guys still managed to have solid careers and memorable stints during WWF’s transitional era. Tatanka was one of those thanks to his lengthy undefeated streak and later as a cornerstone of the Million Dollar Corporation.
I was hoping Tatanka would make the cut from Mattel. The New Generation era seems to have been neglected somewhat thanks to some major options (Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett) being off the table. Tatanka offers some welcome versatility since he had big moments as both a face and a heel. Let’s see how Mattel did with his debut figure.
Packaging: I think the dominant red color scheme has worn on me over the years. I’m more drawn now to pretty much every WWE packaging that mixes that up a bit. For the legends, I wish Mattel would use the old school big block yellow W and make that the inner lining instead of the modern logo. My design preferences aside, this setup allows for easy paint and swap checks.
I like that Mattel found a reference picture of Tatanka that matched the figure. It’s odd to me how often that isn’t the case and the picture features a more iconic look for the character than the figure. Poor Tatanka missed out on chances to nab the Intercontinental and tag team titles so his biggest career highlight is winning a Slammy Award.
Likeness: I dig that feeling when I look at Mattel’s execution of a figure and feel like they completely nailed it. That’s the case here with Tatanka. From the focused expression, the intricate necklace, wristbands, skirt and boot tassels, this is how Tatanka’s figure should look.
The torso choice was good too. That’s become more challenging for Mattel over the years (cough Sting cough), but this captures Tatanka’s stocky build well.
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Scale: Tatanka was billed as 6’2” a few inches shorter than Lex Luger at 6’4” and taller than the 6’1” Shawn Michaels. The scaling overall is dead on. Tatanka uses all the right parts to be the correct size, but his oversized noggin gives the illusion that he’s taller than he should be.
From the front it doesn’t look that bad, but it’s obvious his feud with the Headshrinkers didn’t turn out well for anyone.
Paint: Mattel typically gets tampo details down and Tatanka has a bunch, but it’s all nice and clean. The arm band isn’t as detailed as what Tatanka wore, but that’s not a lot of space to be too intricate.
I wish Mattel would make a wristband sculpt so the paint didn’t have to sell that illusion. It’s especially noticeably here since Tatanka’s were more of a gauntlet style with laces hanging down.
Articulation: Mattel’s Elite articulation scheme is perfect for about 80% of wrestlers who don’t do a lot of submission moves. Tatanka isn’t one of those so this setup works just fine for him. The one pose you won’t be able to do is Tatanka’s signature arms crossed pose, which would largely just be for shelf display anyway.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Tatanka’s necklace is removable. The sculpting on it is pretty nice. It’s actually sculpted properly with layers, but it’s hard to make out unless you’re looking very closely.
While he doesn’t come with his headdress, Tatanka does get a tomahawk. I don’t remember him carrying that too long into his run, but it’s a cool accessory with good sculpted details and paintwork. I wish the big China emboss wasn’t so prominent, but otherwise this is a nice secondary accessory.
Worth it? You can get Tatanka cheaper than the standard $20 price now. Flashbacks are tricky in terms of pricing. Sometimes they hit ridiculous clearance prices and other times they’re crazy expensive. I’d grab him now to be on the safe side.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Tatanka is one of those useful New Generation stars since he battled practically everyone. Minus the oversized head, this is a great representation of him and well worth grabbing for NG fans.
Where to get it? I haven’t seen Elite Wave 47A in stores. Maybe some of the less likely options like K-Mart might have this wave in stock. Otherwise, I’d recommend going the Amazon.com like I had to to get him.